i don't remember what we were talking about. was i complaining? disgruntled about being tired or overworked maybe? or were we inventorying the past month, taking account of our dreams for the future in our usual fashion on long, winding car rides? i don't remember what we were talking about before that silver car was headed straight for us, before the screaming of tires shredding, before we almost lost it all.
it was like slow motion. the spinning. the jerking. the fight to regain control. i turn to look at my children's faces as the van leaps over rocks like they were hurdles. their faces so innocent. so pure. so unaware. i reach my hand to stead livi's car seat from bouncing to high.
"it's ok babies! it's ok, it's ok... oh, Jesus!" i shout as we finally land in a pile of dust & rubble... heart pounding in my chest, eyes wide open as i watch the car who had so obediently been following us down these country roads now careens towards ours, engulfed in flame.
"oh, Jesus...keep going! keep going!" wheels turn in helpless gravel & the van lurches forward to safety. the flaming car soon bottomed out in the ditch, coming to it's final resting place.
seat belts unbuckled in a frenzy. adrenaline coursing through the veins, we run to help passengers out of the burning vehicle. wildfire catches quickly to bush & dry grass. flames lick my shoes as we toss luggage & shredded easter weekend plans from burning metal.
"it's not worth it!" steve shouts to me, shouts to our unfortunate fellow travelers. "back away! back away!" i run back to the children a few feet away, still strapped in their seats watching their dvd like nothing had happened. livi was screaming now. tears hot on cheeks as i unstrap her from her seat and bring her to the front seat with me. i rock & rock her. i feed her & rock her some more.
"thank-you Jesus. thank-you Jesus. it's ok. thank-you Jesus." i whisper over & over, kissing the top of her head.
"mom, can i see the fire?" davith asks, eyes still on the dvd screen.
"no son. just be thankful. so thankful. thank-you Jesus."
"is that it?! jeepers!" i huff in distemper.
"yup." he says patiently. " i gave my statement & the officer said we could go now.... he said the last couple of these he's been to there hasn't been anyone to take statements from & to be thankful."
my heart lurches with guilt as we all buckle back into the van. had i forgotten that fast what i had just been saved from? saved from months in the hospital. years of recovery, if even given the chance. an inch or two away from loosing our future, loosing it all. how could i squander it on grumbling, on frazzle, on ingratitude? my life is worth more than that. oh, what i have been given. given extravagant gifts wrapped up in peculiar packaging. but beautiful gifts none the less.
thank you Lord. thank you for screaming babies, for dust & dirt, for poopy diapers & no wipes, for our space scarce van, for cranky, rambunctious toddlers, sore necks, for tired eyes & soothers that keep falling out. thank-you Lord for life. thank you for it all.